Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drawstring bag addiction

If you spend any time reading quilting/sewing blogs, you have probably been seeing a lot of adorable drawstring bags popping up, like I have.

I think most of them are using the fabulous tutorial by Jeni of In Color Order. She previously posted a tutorial for this great bag, and now has made a pattern available with several different sizes.

I've only finished one so far, but I love it SO MUCH. Probably an inappropriate amount!

My favorite color, one of my favorite fabric designers, and a well written pattern. It's the sewing trifecta!

So, here's the one I've finished:

And here's what I have prepped:

It was almost painful to cut in to some of my favorite fabrics. But ooh, the new, scrappy possibilities!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More blogging ahead!

I think all slacker bloggers (like me) swear they're going to start blogging more. But I really am!

I even made a long list of ideas for blog posts.

Now if I could only find where DS1 left the list....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sewing fun!

The last two days, I've been lucky enough to have a lot of sewing fun!

Monday morning I got a phone call from my new LQS. I won a $50 gift certificate at their open house last week! This will be perfect to pick up supplies for the embroidery class I'm taking in a couple of weeks.

Last night, I also got a lot of sewing time in after the boys were in bed. I got the binding on one quilt, the quilting done on a very mini, mini quilt, and removed and fixed and finished the binding on a small table runner. Yay!

I wish I had pictures, but the weather has been crap, and my three year old has been uncooperative in the quilt holding department.

I didn't get as much sewing done today, but I did pick up the new copy of Quilts & More, and take a few minutes to peruse it. I'm hoping to use the pattern by Julie and Jaybird Quilts to make a home birth themed quilt for a friend or two.

Our older son's birthday is at the end of the month, and today he told me he wants a Halloween themed birthday party. He really enjoyed Halloween this year, and somehow managed to dress up three times, twice with make up.

I didn't get his Halloween quilt completed, as hard as I tried, but this may be my second chance. I seriously almost have the whole top pieced, so tonight I sewed together all the pieces I had already pinned. I have a little unsewing and re-sewing to do tomorrow, but if bedtime goes well, I think I'll get the top put together!

Last, but definitely not least, tonight I participated in my first Talkin' Tuesday (#talknt) on Twitter. It was hilarious and sweet and warm, which was all very delightful. I'm looking forward to participating again in the future!

And because I don't have any quilt pics, here's a favorite from Halloween

Have a great day friends!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WiP Wednesday

If anyone knows where September and October went, please let me know.

I'm still having trouble sticking to one project, the evidence being that I didn't manage to complete a single Halloween quilt, despite having at least four in progress.

Oh but we will be warm and snuggly for next Halloween. I promised myself.

(Speaking of next Halloween, did you check out Tula Pink's Halloween reveal of her new line, Nightshade? It is gorgeous!)

Here's what I'm focusing on now. I'm hoping to get some sewing time in today!



More binding

A bit of stitching

Putting the pieces together

Today I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What have you been up to? Any big sewing plans for today?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sew Spasms

I feel like I'm sewing in spasms these days. And unfortunately, I'm having trouble making myself stick to the projects I really should be working on.

Fortunately, progress in general has been moving a little quicker these days. I've been working quite consistently on a 5 1/2" HST project.

I'm using Kona Orange in combination with the black, purple, and orange fabrics from the Trick or Treat line by Doodlebug Design for Riley Blake.

Our three year old has switched his color allegiance to orange lately, and I really want to get a Halloween/Autumn quilt made for every bed in the house, so this one will be his.

I was getting close to having all the squares sewn, cut, ironed, and trimmed (my husband even helped one night while we watched tv!). But I realized one night (while awake nursing the baby - does anyone else wake up to their brain cranking through quilt math?!) that I had miscalculated and needed to make almost as many more HSTs as I had already made.


So, I'm pushing myself even harder to finish up the squares I have. I want to do a rough lay out to help decide what additional fabric (if any) I will need to purchase.

I also want to make a matching pillowcase, and I had been trying to convince myself that a solid case with scraps decorating the side would be great. But if I'm going to have to order more fabric extra yard of the black with the large print on it may end up in my online cart. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Baby Boy's Crib Quilt Part 2

Back in March I started a crib-sized quilt for the baby. I really thought it was going to be a quick and easy project, but somehow, that's not how it turned out.

In July, the boys and I spent time at our family's cabin on Lake Superior, and I took my sewing machine and some projects with me. All I had left with this quilt was to finish the binding. And I was able to complete it! Hooray!

But since I was already so close to the baby's birthday, I saved it a couple of weeks and gave it to him on his birthday. The boy's room is always stuffy and overly warm, despite two air conditioners running upstairs, so the quilt spends most of its time jammed in the end of the crib. Soon enough, it will be getting plenty of use!

Here's a pic of my big boy trying to help out by holding the quilt up (he took the job very seriously):

And he had to stand on the couch and stretch way up high for most of the quilt to be visible. Such a great little helper!

And just for fun, a pic of the baby (I suppose I should start calling him something else, now that he's one!) enjoying his birthday cake:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Baby Boy's Crib Quilt Part 1

First, a post I wrote back at the beginning of March, but somehow failed to actually post:

I love the idea of pre-cuts, and I love buying them, but I feel like I don't always use them as well as I could.

I finally purchased my first layer cake about a month ago, Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda. I haven't been able to find any of the fabric in nearby quilt shops (no LQS here), but I love the way it looks in the projects I see popping up online.

I was hoping to make a quick and easy, but cute and fun, baby quilt with it.  But what was in my head didn't jive with the fabric once it arrived.

Cue late-night pondering. I don't remember when this one came to me, but I decided to use some of it to make a crib quilt for my baby boy.

He's eight months old now, and has grown at a ridiculous rate. I made several small quilts for him before he was born, but nothing crib sized. Since he takes his naps in his crib, I think he deserves a special "made just for him" quilt. He's also starting to sleep in his crib for the first bit of the night. One night he slept in his crib for a whole night. I woke up to the boys giggling and laughing at each other. They were so excited to wake up in the same room together!

I didn't put a lot of thought in to this quilt ahead of time. I flew by the seat of my pants and had a lot of fun. Looking back, I think I was heavily influenced by some quilts Rita at Red Pepper Quilts was working on at the time.

Here are the fabrics I started out with:

(I eventually added two or three more)

I cut each 10 inch square in to 2-10 x 2.5 in strips, 5 x 2.5 in strips, and 1-5 x 5 square. I combined them with four Kona solids: bahama blue, school bus, white, and a very pale grey (not sure of the proper name, maybe ash?), one solid and one print in each square.

When it came time to lay out the quilt, three squares by five squares looked oddly narrow. I ordered a Central Park charm pack and added another eight blocks.

I really like how all the squares look, but I'm having some trouble getting a layout I like. I really want to get this done for my baby boy soon. Hopefully I will get some time to arrange and rearrange in the next few days.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WiP Wednesday

I have many different projects that could be considered works in progress. These include projects that I have already started to sew, have cut fabric for, or have purchased fabric for. Then there's a whole list of projects in my head that I'd like to do relatively soon. And of course the "someday" list, something like a quilting/sewing bucket list.

Right now I have three or four "main" wips.

Although I haven't blogged about it yet, the desire to make this quilt for my mother in law is what caused me to take my first/only quilt class, which led to me falling in love with sewing, making quilts, and collecting fabric.

The creation of this quilt left behind A LOT of scraps, to the point that I would probably refer to it more as "a surplus of remaining fabric." So quite a while ago I chopped most of the scraps in to 3 1/2" squares and planned to make a square that featured 3 1/2" squares around two sides of a 6 1/2" square.

My mother in law really likes lighthouses, and my inlaws have a cabin on Lake Superior, so I decided to make the 6 1/2" square a consistent lighthouse fabric. I did find and buy one fabric at Hancock Fabrics, but ultimately it looked so cheap that I couldn't force myself to include it in a quilt I'm going to put a lot of work in to.

For months I kept my eye out for lighthouse fabric, mostly online as there's no LQS here. I haven't found anything I could say I even like. Mostly just prints I don't hate. Hardly an endorsement.

Several weeks ago I started seeing more patriotic fabrics online and in a couple stores I was able to visit. Then while at The Fabric Patch in Ironwood, MI I was able to see some of the Red Rooster Quilts of Valor fabrics in person. Everything clicked! My surplus of scraps quilt shall not be lighthouses, but patriotic.

I got several prints there, and picked up a couple more yesterday at My Favorite Quilt Shop, including the Marcus Bros Quilts of Valor multi-colored stars fabric I've been lusting over online.

The original plan was to make four squares a day, and I did really well for the first three days, but I haven't made any since then. I'm hoping to get more things organized and really crack down on these next week. Maybe I'll even get some time in on Sunday.

The other project that has been taking me away from the fireworks quilt is this spooky Halloween tree, my interpretation of a pattern in Boo Davis' book, Dare to be Square.

I am using Boo to You by Riley Blake scraps that I have left over from making the boys' 13 Days of Halloween hanging pockets (also a blog post for another day). I really love how this is turning out. With a white tree and Laura Gunn Painters Canvas in Gray for a background, I think this one will look a bit spooky. This will be a great quilt for our spare bedroom, and it is also a test to see how well I can enlarge the pattern for another quilt I will be making this fall. I feel like progress has been really slow on this, but I have been consistently plugging along. Part of that feeling is probably my impatience to see this one done. I'm really excited!

My other wip is the The Farmer's Wife Quilt Along, hosted by Amanda and Angela. I thought I had several Anna Maria Horner Chocolate Drop fat quarters that I had picked up at a clearance/reduction sale at Herrschner's about a year ago. This fabric has been burning a hole in my brain, as I tried to figure what the heck to use it for. When I started seeing posts about the FWQAL, I saw that many people intended to use modern fabrics, mostly scraps. I haven't been quilting/sewing very long, and I don't have a deep enough scrap bin. But I do have a lot of fabric!

I dug out the Chocolate Lollipop fabric, and it turns out I have half yards. This is great! Considering the estimated 8-10 yards needed for this quilt, I should have plenty, especially since I plan to add solids in too (mostly white, a fabric I rarely use, but I think will calm down the wildness of some of these prints). An added bonus - the Herrschner's sale didn't have much left this year by the time I got to go - but they did have some Chocolate Lollipop fabric for $1/yd! I bought a bunch and now I have a great chunk of backing for this quilt.

I haven't sewed anything for the QAL yet, which puts me about four weeks behind. With two squares a week, that "only" puts me 8 behind, so I'm hoping that, if I haven't caught up by early July, that will be the time to do so. Someone, please inform my boys and get them to understand this.

I do have eight hsts that I made on the spur of a moment one night when I was learning to use Thangles. I'm planning to use those in one of my first squares for the QAL.

Well, that's my first post for WiP Wednesday.

Phew! I've been wanting to do that for awhile. I hope you enjoyed and stuck with my through all those words and pictures. I'll get better at writing more efficiently the more I do this (hopefully)!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced

(Okay, I want to...still trying to get the button to work...)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Road Trip "Out East"

This morning the boys and I jumped in our car and spent the day on the Eastern side of the state. We visited two of our favorite families, ate lots of good food, spent time outside on a beautiful day, and made it home safe (and only about three hours later than I had originally planned).

I even worked in a quick stop at a new (to me) quilt shop. My Favorite Quilt Shop is a cute little place tucked in a building with a few other shops.

The shop has a lot of great fabric, but I didn't have a lot of browsing time, or capability (I had the baby in my arms). Luckily, the fabric I wanted (patriotic) was right by the door. And while I was waiting for my turn to get my fabric cut, I found some more Origins fabric by Basic Grey for Moda. I have several yards already, and a specific pattern to make with that yardage.  The fabric was purchased for our spare room (and to be the winter quilt), so I want to make a quilt for the pack and play out of the same fabric, and maybe a little table runner/place mat or two for the dresser or credenza. But that may get to look a bit crazy.

As exciting as finally getting the rest of the patriotic fabric I need (fingers crossed, I may get this quilt done in time to use for our yearly excursion to the fireworks!), I found out that My Favorite Quilt Shop rents their long-arm, and for only $25/hour!

A few weeks ago I whipped together a simple quilt top out of my favorite purple fabrics (accidentally named "Put a Purple Bird on It" by a friend) in the hope that I would soon find a long-arm to rent. I'm planning to keep the quilt for myself , so it will be a good quilt to use for the first go at long-arm quilting.

Now I just have to find time in my schedule to get back there!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebrating a Cousin

My husband's cousin's baby shower was on Saturday.

The big boy got to go to a movie with Daddy, and baby boy and I enjoyed a nice afternoon with family.

Due to continued illness, I was running about a month behind (ha!), and I finished the quilt just before we had to walk out the door. I was hoping to get another little blanket, and a couple feeling blankets sewed as well, but those will just have to be sent later.

I'm really happy with how this quilt turned out.

I've been wanting to make a zig zag quilt for awhile now, so I added a single zip to the backing.  Ooh, it was exciting!

The baby's mom liked the quilt too, and promised to send me a picture with baby girl on the quilt when she arrives. Hooray for cousins!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The baby quilt top is finished! I am equal parts excited and astounded.

The boys have managed to overlap their naps for the past two days. The first day, I'll be honest, I took a nap. I knew my mil would be in town that evening, and I am still worn out from the nasty cold/respiratory flu that took us out last week.

But today, I sewed like the wind, and managed to get most of the quilt top completed, before baby boy woke up.

Tonight, I finished the top, made samiches with the remaining charm squares, and sewed the samiches together. Now I'm all set to cut them apart in to half square triangles (hsts) tomorrow.

And it's nursing time again...sweet dreams all!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Far Far Away 3 and a Start

There have been a couple of blogosphere posts about Heather Ross' Far Far Away III today.

I haven't had the opportunity to see either of the other Far Far Away series in person yet. They look great in quilts, but seem a bit girly for me. However, I am very excited to see Snow White and the Hi Ho's (you may call them Dwarfs in your house) in FFA III!

My older son has loved Snow White since he first saw it, somewhere around two years old (I think?). He used to wake up in the middle of the night and play in his crib until he fell back asleep. I would doze on and off, keeping an ear on him. There was about a month last winter where I would inevitably be pulled back to awake by a hearty, "hi HOOOOOOOO."

Now I just have to figure out what to make for him.....

In other news, my mother in law came this afternoon because she has a work meeting to attend in town tomorrow. She took the boys out for quite a long stroll, and gave me time to start sewing a baby quilt that needs to be done very soon. Luckily, all the contemplating and agonizing over it I've done in the last few months seems to have helped, because it is coming together quickly.

I can't believe I have waited so long to begin the actual sewing, but I'm going to blame it on the unexpected sicknesses we have encountered most of the last month.

Here's to fewer germs and more sewing in the weeks to come!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do or do not...

Zipper instruction youtube videos, here I come!

Denyse Schmidt at Joann Fabrics!

I took my first quilt class in July 2009, and didn't start collecting fabric and keeping track of fabric trends until a while after that. So when I finally tracked down the designer and line of all the fabulous fabric I was seeing, I was devastated that Flea Market Fancy and Katie Jump Rope (both from designer Denyse Schmidt) were so difficult to find - and expensive when found!

Today I'm seeing a lot of quiltland buzz about fabric Denyse Schmidt has designed and is selling at Joann Fabrics!

From Ms. Schmidt's Facebook page:

DS Quilts Collection is a studio line of fabric and patterns (the latter via McCalls). We'll be releasing new fabrics throughout the year (and hopefully beyond), as well as more patterns... with McCall.

I'll also continue to design, new (and of course totally different) patterns and fabrics for independent shops. Look for new fabric from FreeSpirit in January 2012, and new DSQ patterns this fall.

I don't have a local Joann Fabrics store, but I will be traveling past/near three in the next couple of weeks. I had planned to splurge on some echino fabrics for my birthday later in the month, but I may just score some Denyse Schmidt from Joanns instead!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Test Gone Wrong, Turns Out Right

Last week I started thinking about one of the quilts I want to have completed in May. (One of. Eek.)

I think the pattern in my head will work...I even drew it out on paper. But I really don't want to screw it up, so I decided to do a small test version, and use the result as a quilt to have on hand for small visitors who sleep in the pack and play.

For the test quilt, I used my Kona scraps and cut the pieces to 2 1/2 inches wide, then sewed them all together "mostly randomly" (I tried to keep some distance between same colors, and tried to keep things from getting "too matchy").

For the thicker sections, I cut a few 6 inch swaths from my Kona stash.

Here's the result:

I really love this quilt, but the problem is that I got half way through and realized I hadn't been trimming the 6 inch sections to 5 inches for the sides, and I was therefore not actually testing my pattern. Whoops.

The quilt is currently hanging over my ironing board with the batting, backing, and binding (more 2 1/2 inch Kona scraps), and the big boy really likes talking about all the colors. If I didn't already have fabric purchased for the quilt I want to make for his big boy bed, I'd consider using all solids.

I really hope to get this quilted and bound this week, and then get to work on the next quilt I want to make for someone else. And then maybe get back to all the quilts I am in the process for making for other people. Oh and that other test quilt.

One of these days, maybe I will learn that it is not very productive to have so many wips at once.

Nope, probably not.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Babies Everywhere!

It seems that I've reached the age that every few weeks, someone I know is going to welcome a precious bundle in to their life.

I really wish I could make something for each of these little people, but my own little people get a lot more of my attention than my sewing machine. I dream up great things in my head though.

While organizing my fabric the other night, I discovered that I still have quite a large stash of Hothouse Garden fabric. I also have two completed quilt tops using this fabric!

I've decided the rest is destined for a coin quilt. I've always wanted to make one, and when I saw this recipe at the Moda Bake Shop, I was very excited. It has a great look (especially with that Sugar Pop fabric! I definitely need some precuts of that deliciousness!), and seems like it will be quick to put together. Yay!

Hopefully this means three or four baby quilts. How cool it would be to have four sweet babes snuggled under a quilt I made!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Circle Around

The first quilt blog I started reading was Jaybird Quilts . I fell in love with Julie Herman's Circle Around pattern from the Summer 2010 issue of Quilts & More at about the same time that I read her interview in Quilter's Home. It was the first time I really became aware of the modern quilt movement.

I have finally gotten around to making the Circle Around pattern. I had a few mistakes along the way learning to use the walking foot (which I am now in love with - just when you think it's going to pucker, the sewing fairy busts out her magic, and everything lays flat, and I am a happy woman). I also bought more black and white fabrics than I technically needed.

This has resulted in me having enough extra squares to make a smaller version for the boys.

The bad news is that this plays right in to the big boy's belief that every quilt I make should be for him. The good news is that this will give me a chance to practice the quilting before I get to the big quilt, which I really hope to give as a gift.

More good news...I finished it last night! I was supposed to be doing other chores and working on other projects, but I decided to do just a bit of quilting, and it was going so well that I kept going.

My third finish of the year, and my first for March. Yay!

Now on to those chores I didn't do last night....

(See the original pattern of the quilt on the cover of Quilts and More, Summer 2010 . I did put my own swing on it, which I will discuss when I post the "big quilt.")

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exciting find

I love the look of the pieced backs that are popular these days, so I finally tried it myself a few weeks ago.

It was exhausting! I miscalculated about halfway through, and there were a thousand interruptions (largely of the busy boy three year old persuasion).

I do like the way it looked in the end, but I'm not sure it was worth the extra time it took to get the quilt to the "sandwich-ing" point. It's partially through the quilting phase right now.

Despite my frustrations...I am currently working on a second pieced back. What can I say? The first time may have been a fluke.

One good thing about pieced backs - they usually save money over purchasing one cut of fabric. I haven't gotten in to the habit of purchasing my backing fabric along with everything else (is that what I'm supposed to be doing?), and I don't have a LQS. It can be frustrating to complete a quilt top and be ready to baste and not have any backing fabric.

So, I have been keeping my eye out for alternate backing fabrics. The boys and I made a trip to Target the other day, and I was excited to find a King-sized duvet cover on clearance for $10! That's a lot of fabric. It washed and dried nicely too!

I'm hoping to use half of the duvet cover for a queen-sized quilt for our spare room bed. But first I'll test it on something smaller. Maybe I'll "whip up" something for the boys. The big boy thinks every quilt I make is for him, anyway!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mid-night Inspiration

When I have been thinking a lot about a specific pattern I'm working on, or what fabric I want to use for a project, the ideas and possibilities tend to weave in and out of my mind throughout the day. While I wash the dishes, fold the laundry, and brush my teeth, these quilty, crafty thoughts occupy me.

But the best inspiration seems to arrive during the middle of the night. The baby wakes me up to nurse, and my brain goes a million miles a minute, calculating and contemplating while he suckles away. Then it's back to slumber for him, and I'm left wide awake, wondering if I should go light or dark with the sashing, or add an extra border.

This morning I awoke to the answer for a pressing problem.

Batiks! I'm so excited to have a solution. Equally exciting, I already have some of the fabric I will need. I bought it for a different project, which I ended up changing my mind about.

I'm very excited to finally work with batiks. I've used a little here and there, but I've never made anything big. My only hesitation is that the sewing needle seems to leave holes in the fabric, so if I start quilting and I really muck things up, I can't rip it out and start over. Maybe these holes will ease when I wash the quilt, but I have my doubts.

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Finish of 2011!

Figuring out how to balance sewing time and blogging time is going to take some work it seems!

Last Wednesday I completed my first quilt of 2011!

2010 was definitely a year of starting projects. I'm hoping that 2011 will be a year of completing projects.

This fabric is much more "girly" than what (I think) I am usually attracted to. I prefer dark colors, and I live in a house full of males, so there isn't a lot of pretty going on around here. 

I originally bought just the charm pack at one of my favorite quilt shops, Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, WI. But they had this quilt on display, and I couldn't get it out of my head, so I went back and they were kind enough to let me return the charm pack and purchase the kit to make this quilt.

I've had the top done and stuffed away for awhile. I waited until I bought a free motion foot and used it to practice my stipple quilting. It is far from great, and I wouldn't even call it good, but I tend to be hard on myself.

The kit included a striped fabric for the binding. I have seen some quilts with striped binding that look amazing, and I have two planned for the future, but I didn't feel like that fabric brought the whole quilt together very well. The nine-patch squares are quite vibrant, but the borders are rather bland. So I purchased a pink from the same fabric line and I love the way it brought the whole quilt together.

And boys are I have a quilt top to finish.  And with any luck, I'll blog about it in fewer that five days this time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I know it doesn't look like much now, but I plan for this to be my virtual creative space. I'm relatively new to sewing and quilting. I love reading the amazing quilt/sew/craft blogs out there, and I'm impressed by the amount of support crafters give each other. I'm hoping to get some supportive suggestions and assistance myself, as I stumble around my tiny studio. But in the end, I feel that the act of creating is more important than the perfection of the creation. And in that vein...some days...I'm just going to sew my own way.

Thanks for visiting - please stop by again!